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‘Tigra’ Honda CBX 250 – Lucky Custom


Posted on July 8, 2016 by Andrew in Café Racer. 27 comments

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Written by Martin Hodgson.

The majority of the world was largely ignorant of the passion for motorcycles that exists in Argentina until a small film called The Motorcycle Diaries was released in 2004. It tells the story of the legendary Che Guevara and his friend Alberto Granado riding their 1939 Norton 500 as they adventure throughout South America. Not only do you begin to realise the importance of a motorcycle to young Argentinian men as a rite of passage but discover that little repair shops dot the landscape. So nine years ago to feed this appetite for motorcycles, Lucas Layum founded Lucky Custom to serve up tasty two-wheel treats to the populace. But the Cordoba based shop doesn’t just tweak bikes here and there, they take everything from new Harley’s to old BMW’s and create one-off masterpieces. And so it is that a little 2011 Honda CBX250 Twister has become their latest creation with a build that’ll blow your mind.

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For Lucas customising bikes is everything “it’s my life and it is what I do, this and my family. Here in Argentina there are no catalogs or stores to buy accessories, so here you have to use ingenuity.” So why pick one of the most common commuter bikes in the country with virtually no redeeming features from the factory other than its cheap purchase price and reliability? Because Lucas wanted a challenge, he didn’t want to create yet another custom you could see anywhere on the internet and with the bike up on the stand he gave himself and his team just five weeks to turn out something truly spectacular. While the design largely flowed as the build progressed the theme of a futuristic build was set from the start, tired of retro styled machines this was a chance to explore new possibilities. “Everything is the same, I like to transgress, and I did not want to do more of the same.” But it was soon apparent that the CBX would need a lot more work than first thought to make this dream a reality.

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With the suspension height figured out it was decided the only way to get the long lean look they were after would be to cut the frame in half and do away with the entire back section. With this done the old tank they’d picked out for the project was mounted up and this would provide a reference point for the rest of the build. With the new tank extending past the rear mounting point of the original unit the newly fabricated rear not only had to support the seat but share common lines rearward with all the metal work planned. With the inward angle of the tank’s sides measured, work started on the fully tubular subframe that is welded to the backbone and the original lower subframe supports. To give the tank some more customisation two filler caps were added, offset to the right hand side to give the appearance of a dry break fuel system. The tank was then further modified, notched at the front to clear the USD suspension that was to follow and smoothed at the rear.

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That rear section of the tank now butts up beautifully to the black leatherette covered seat that Lucas designed and upholstered himself. It all sits on a custom seat base shaped from steel that is designed to allow the custom tubular subframe to remain visible. The rear hump was fabricated from scratch, largely mirroring the rear dimensions of the tank, with the inclusion of an exhaust exit at its centre and the bottom shaped to match the symmetry of the rear tyre; these lads sure can fabricate! But they weren’t finished there, Lucas had an idea for a truly unique headlight assembly, “The headlight is crafted from a fender off a 1981 Honda Dax, three LEDs were added to serve as headlights and an acrylic visor that was from an old helmet”. The visor come wind protection is affixed with an oversupply of hex head bolts from a modern sportsbike that gives a riveted effect perfectly matched to the industrial futurism of the build.

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Having set the height of the suspension from the very start Lucas used a set of USD forks from a Honda CRF 125. They’d been used in the beginning to give the team an idea of what was possible and given how good they looked they were always going back on the bike. But first they had to be drastically shortened and resprung, painted in black and a host of intricate modifications made for some special wheels to come. Out back the factory swingarm was taken back to bare metal before being refinished in frame matching black while the rear shock was modified to give the bike a flat stance and stiffened to prevent bottoming out on the new bodywork. Then it was time for those special wheels, contrast cuts from Performance Machine in the US, big dollar items that are worth more than a new CBX to begin with.

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But being designed for big Harley’s and the like they’re no bolt on item. For Lucas this was the most complicated part of the build, new bearings had to be designed, axles machined and adapters made to fit the braking hardware front and rear. With so much money and effort spent the rear sprocket and brake disc are both mounted on the left side so that when viewed from the right side both wheels reveal their entire face. Pulled off the bike again so that the bearings and other surfaces could be double checked for correct fitment they were then fitted up with a tasty set of Bridgestone rubber with yellow lettering. To get the Bridgestone’s spinning, the little factory 250cc Honda engine has been given a pep with a rejetted carb feeding from a foam pod filter.

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But it’s the exhaust that really gets the gases flowing; a one-off stainless steel system that runs under the engine, up past the swingarm and then under the seat pan before exiting out of the rear tail-piece. At first it was going to be left as a straight through system but the sound was simply too much so a baffle has been added under the engine to keep things neat at the rear.

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You may also notice two heat sinks sitting on the left side of the engine, at first they appear as if they could be factory components of some sort. But wanting to keep the rear totally clean and with the stock headlight removed they actually serve to hold all of the bikes wiring and battery: genius! Now just needing to make the bike functional a set of clip-ons have been added to the dirt bike forks and custom rearsets are placed to give the bike a sporty riding position.

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The black grips with machined ends give more of the industrial feel to the build and switches are limited to start and shut off; we have to assume the local law enforcement are fans and ok with no blinkers, who could blame them. Finally with nearly five weeks of incredible fabrication under their belt and a bike that was riding better than it ever had before it could be given its final touch.

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The paint is inspired by the Martini racing colours with deeper tones for a more aggressive look and the workshops “Crown” logos applied to the tank and rear end. Nicknamed “Tigra” it is not meant as the female sex of a very large cat but slang for one that is “bold and daring.” Which not only sums up this build but is exactly what Lucky Custom are all about, with Lucas telling us now the CBX is finished the next build is underway, a tracker with a turbo Harley engine; they sure are revolutionaries in Argentina!

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[Photos by Raul Origlia]








  • Hardley T Whipsnade III

    Well at least this one is clean showing a high level of craftsmanship and construction as well as being well thought out both aesthetically as well as engineering wise . But the ever ubiquitous , over used , over repeated and completely irrelevant Martini & Rossi reference ? Taking that away would raise this bike’s appeal by at least another ten points on a hundred point sliding scale !

  • guvnor67

    I like it … A lot. As the guy more or less says, you won’t find endless amounts of these on the Net. The fender-becomes-fairing idea is clever and certainly beats bolting on a catalogue item. The exhaust in the tail, though not ground breaking, suits this to a t. The Martini colours made me smile (I watched a heck of a lot of motor racing, both 2 and 4 wheels, as a young fella in the 70s and early 80s.) I reckon the bike looks light, and nimble, and well built. Nice!!

  • Régis Apolinário Coelho

    Some solutions outside the box? Yes,but much more outside the logic. Heated Batteries? Greased/oiled brakes? Horizontal fairings? Rear tires with low leaned roll band and high shoulders on a tending to be sport bike?

  • ElectroBaby

    When building a motorcycle, ingenuity becomes a necessary tool, if you want to build anything worth a look at. These Argentinian gentlemen have ingenuity in spades! The bold colors and craftsmanship are outstanding. This is a motorcycle that had me surprised at every photo.

    • guvnor67

      Same here!! Definately a case of the more you look, the more you see!

    • Same. I saw the first shot and liked it. I saw the full set and was really blown away by how much better it got. Like a fine wine…

  • Dave Coetzee

    Simply gorgeous!
    Don’t know whether I missed the explanation (from the write-up) of why the rear disk is much larger than the front one but it’s a first for me.

  • sbaugz

    without a doubt, this has got to be one of the coolest, well thought out, unique, bad-a$$ builds I have seen here in a long time! These guys really put a lot of thought in this build. All these motorcycle blogs post the same stuff, each and every day- and it gets very tiring to see. Then this bike comes along and blows my mind. Well done!

  • Fast2Furious

    The only thing legendary about Ernesto Guevara is how easily people forget that he was one of the most notorious mass murders of the 20th century responsible for hundreds perhaps thousands of executions carried out on his extrajudicial orders and some times administered by him directly.

    • the watcher

      How do you know? In fact, revolutionary theory holds that victory must be paid for in blood, but I’d still like to be able to check your reference.

      • Fast2Furious

        How do you know he didn’t. I’m not talking about legitimate casualties I’m talking about depraved murder. Prisoners executed without trial and often dispatched by Dr Guevara himself. You need to crack a book and you’ll find all the references you need.

        • the watcher

          Which book was the question; I must’ve cracked all the wrong ones during my doctorate. You moral indignation suggests that you’re accustomed to saying stuff without recourse to academic rigour.

          • Fast2Furious

            You’re complaining about academic rigor and you can’t even find a reference to the time he worked at La Cabaña political prison.

          • the watcher

            It’s not up to me to find anything; you seemed to want to grind your axe and I asked for the source of your data (which you STILL haven’t supplied). Incidentally, academic rigoUr isn’t what happens after a professor dies. Nonetheless, it was your point so you back it up, geddit now?

          • Fast2Furious

            My point was to illustrate how wildly inappropriate it was for a motorcycle blog to make a political statement in general and a statement about Ernesto Guevara in particular. There is this new thing called Google all the kids are using it you should try it.

    • You are commenting on wrong blog amigo, and don’t forget that most western governments have blood on their hands, and exploitation is their middle name…

      • Fast2Furious

        You’re half right the Che Guevara apologists at Pipeburn should have never expressed their opinion about this degenerate but the did so that makes this the “right” blog for my comments.

        • I see no Guevara apologists in this article, only a reference to “The Motorcycle Diaries,” a great film by the way. I hope you are equally sensitive about corporate vultures & bank-sters though…

          • Fast2Furious

            You see what you want to but simply referring to Guevara as legendary without acknowledging the atrocities he committed is revisionist history. It doesn’t matter what he did before or after the time he spent murdering innocent people for the Castro brothers. Anything positive he did is negated by the grievous crimes he committed.

          • It seems that this conversation leads to a dead end, since you overlook the fact that these “innocent people” you are referring, were basically Batista’s soldiers, and most of them were landlords, the old status quo, and therefore very much against the Marxist revolution, aka the new status quo.
            Batista had been butchering Cuban people and torturing them for decades yet not even a peep about the US puppet from you. And don’t forget the ‘legendary’ Guantanamo, where the US does torture people and hold them without charge, without access to lawyers, and without due process for extended periods of time. Ironically most of it takes place on the island of Cuba…

            PS – My apologies to Pipeburn editors & commenters for the extension on an irrelevant subject. Bikes are always cool, and politics always divide people. Our world would be a better place without them. ALL OF THEM!!!

          • the watcher

            Usually it’s not the actual history, politics or philosophy that divides but those in the present who seek to find justification for their own prejudices. Tiddly pom, let’s tend to our gardens.

          • I agree wholeheartedly my friend!

          • Fast2Furious

            Hey The Watcher here’s a book for you to read. I can’t vouch for it’s content as I have not actually read it – too many words.

  • Very interesting build. Bitchin’ paint job and wheels. Not sure about the gob stuck to the left side of the engine though. Amazing what even a small tail section behind the seat pad does for the overall balance of the profile. Nice one.

  • the watcher

    All in all it’s just another brick in the wall. Wonder how many people see what I mean.

  • Andy Rappold

    Very nce build…specially when you know how difficut it is to get anything done righ here in south america. I am not so fond of the wheels but thats marginal…I think the cbx250 should be covered more often. Its an interesting object.